MyHeritage, the popular family history network for genealogy buffs with offices in Tel Aviv, Israel and Lehi, Utah, today announced that its digital library of historical records has now passed the 5 billion milestone. In total, MyHeritage now features 5.18 billion records.
For genealogy-related startups, these kind of historical records are the lifeblood of their business. If you start looking for family members and can’t find anybody, after all, the company’s services are as interesting to you as a social network none of your friends use.
MyHeritage competitor Ancestry currently features 13 billion records according to its own reckoning, but MyHeritage says it is adding five million records to its database every day and its users, too, are adding a million family tree profiles daily. The company also stresses that it only took it 2 years to reach 5 billion records while it took Ancestry almost 20.
Last year, MyHeritage announced a partnership with the Mormon Church-sponsored FamilySearch. This multi-year partnership gave it access to about 2 billion records alone and helped it jump-start its run-up to today’s milestone. More recently, the company teamed up with BillionGraves, a crowdsourced initiative to preserve the world’s cemeteries (in the information preserved on their gravestones) in digital form. As part of this partnership, MyHeritage also gained access to the project’s database for use in its own collection. Because of the service’s emphasis on family trees, the service’s users have now added more than 1.5 billion family tree profiles to the site and contributed over 200 million historical photos.
The service is thankfully quite transparent about how it arrived at its most recent count: each name is counted as one record (so a marriage document with the name of the bride and groom counts as two records). If a record shows the same person under multiple names, MyHeritage only counts this as a single record. Other record types include photos, unstructured collections like newspaper pages, as well as family tree profiles for individuals added by the service’s users.
“We are providing Historical Big Data”, said Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage Founder and CEO. “Data all around us is exploding as we enter a new era, the Internet of Things, with humanity poised to produce even greater quantities of digital information every minute. In this abundance of data, vetted information about past periods, as needed for family history research, is harder to come by, and providing it in high quality and quantity is our specialty.”